Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Moments in Foreign Government

Or maybe this belongs in the "great moments in international bureaucracy" series since it relates to European Union law. Regardless, we have another sign of Europe's fiscal nightmare. A court in the United Kingdom has given a big green light to welfare tourism by ruling that a foreign citizen can get handouts based on children living in another country.I realize, of course, that there is welfare tourism in the United States, but surely no state would give money for children living elsewhere (at least I hope). The Daily Express reports on the latest lunacy from the other side of the Atlantic:

A landmark ruling that allows jobless migrants to claim benefits in Britain for their children living in their home country sparked outrage last night. Critics warned the judgment could "open the door" to thousands of benefits tourists abusing generous payouts in Britain. In yesterday"s High Court ruling " showing how EU law is taking precedence over the UK"s " a Portuguese national living in Britain won a legal battle for child benefit for his two daughters in his home country despite no longer working and claiming incapacity benefit here. ...three top judges blocked an appeal by HM Revenue and Customs to prove he was not eligible for the money. Lawyers for Mr Ruas argued EU rules allowed any worker from an EU country who was employed or who received "social assistance" to claim child benefits even if the child lives abroad. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers" Alliance, said: "This opens the door to a huge bill for taxpayers which is utterly unjustified. "Now there are even greater incentives for people to come to Britain trying to take advantage of the benefits system. Time and again it seems these judgments go against the best interests of hard-pressed British taxpayers."

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